November 30, 2014

Give THANKS - November 30th (A Perfect End to November)

Day 20th- A Perfect End to November

I cannot believe the month of November ends in 2 hours. It amazes me how we are so close to wrapping up 2014. I pray December can go just a little slower because I love this time of year and want the lights, music and family time to last just a little longer than usual.

This is my last Giving Thanks and during the month I realized how blessed I am. I didn't make it each day and I am okay with that but on the days I did write it amazed me how I always found something to be thankful for. One of my favorite things to do with the big kids at bedtime is to ask them what they were most thankful for that day. Their answers though sometimes silly to us adult type of people to them is what really mattered that day. They have a way of making us really appreciate the little things that often wouldn't get a second thought from us.

For me this entire weekend totally completes what I am thankful for most in my life; my family. Friday morning I woke up early to go get our fresh turkey from the grocery store. On my way I stopped and got my one black Friday deal of cedar garland. The next couple of hours we all spent the morning outside getting fall taken down and Christmas up. It still amazes me when I look around and their are kids running everywhere. All those little people are mine. I am so unbelievably lucky. 

Saturday we had our Thanksgiving since I worked Thursday and even though the kids knew it wasn't the real holiday they still came down the stairs and their first words as they greeted us in the morning were Happy Thanksgiving. We then had to turn on the recorded Macy's parade because to our kids Saturday was Thanksgiving and they wanted every tradition our family usually participates in to be present. That afternoon my mom, stepdad, sister and her husband joined us and as my kids are getting easier I love being able to just relax and enjoy the holidays. We drank adult beverages, ate way too much and saw who was the most competitive while playing games. It was a great way to wrap up the Thanksgiving activities and I am so thankful to have family close by. 

And today was a day Paul and I have been anticipating for a couple of weeks. I scheduled 2 babysitters to split the day so Paul and I could spend a whole day just doing whatever we felt like doing. No rushing to grab dinner, No grocery shopping, No going out after we were exhausted from putting in a full day. We left at 10 and returned at 7. We have not had a day when we had absolutely no plans without kids in forever. We didn't realize how nice it was until after we had eaten a late lunch and knew we still had time before we needed to head home. Even though it adds up to have a sitter for the entire day we decided we need to do this for us and are going to try to schedule one day a month for us. Who knows maybe we'll take up golfing? So on this last day of November I am also thankful for 2 amazing babysitters who I trust with my kids. They both love them as much as Paul and I do and I loved when Drew asked me this morning after the sitter came, "Mom will you please leave?" 

With great thanks to the past month I am now saying goodbye to November and Hello December. I am so excited that you have arrived so the season of Christmas can officially commence.

Why is that toddlers could care less if they are playing outside in the pouring rain? Don't they know mom is could while they apparently are just fine even if they are shivering? 

His pouting face. 

Her definition of pierced ears.

The kids table too hungry to smile for a picture.
Baby Lucchese due any day!!

Ring a round the Rosey (the grandma edition aka grandma had no idea how the song went so she made up her own words. Her daughters may have been close to peeing their pants!)
Spot It a game that Nicole says she is allowed to play because she is just too fast. 
Welcome December...

November 28, 2014

Give THANKS - November 28th (Faith)

Day 19 - Faith

All month I have known I wanted to do a post about how thankful I am that I have God in my life but I kept putting it off til another day. We are almost at the end of November and though I still have so many things I am thankful for the Give THANKS posts will be done so before I put it off too long this post needs to be written. You may ask why I keep avoiding something so important to me and the answer is; writing about my beliefs and having others read it scares me. 

From the time I was young Jesus has always been a part of who I was. My family went to church every Sunday at 10:30 and sat in the second row on the left. I went to a Catholic elementary school from Kindergarten to the sixth grade which included daily lessons in religion and mass every Wednesday. I was an alter server. I sang in the Sunshine Singers which was the church choir. All of this was just what we did. There was no questioning it but also no longing to be a part of it; it just was part of being in my family. Little did I know that all of this was part of the values my parents were instilling in me from a very young age. 

It wasn't until junior high that I really started taking a look into what my faith meant to me. I know without a doubt that my desire to learn more about what being a Catholic meant and actually wanting to have a relationship with the Lord had everything to do with our youth pastors. They showed the youth of our church that going to mass was so much more than just sitting there for an hour each week because our parents made us. My parents gave me the introduction to my faith but my junior/senior high years are what defined it.

I continued to be active in my church until I left for college and then like so many college students I started becoming really lax in my faith. I still believed all that I had come to know during the first 18 years of my life but without people as giddy in faith sitting right next to me it was easy to just let it fall to the side. Thankfully I had the good old Catholic guilt so Paul and I found a local church and we continued going to mass throughout our college years. It may have been more out of obligation than really wanting to go but at least we made it there. 

God came back into our life with a bang when Paul was diagnosed with cancer. Though I hate to admit it we were desperate and needed someone bigger than we were. We couldn't walk the walk alone and thankfully God was not only right there but he carried us when we couldn't go any further. We continued to rely on him again and again during our twenties and we occasionally remembered to praise him when things were going well, though most times it's so much easier to just call on Him in times of need. The one thing we still struggled with was really listening to what God wanted us to do. Paul and I still wanted to control our path.

It wasn't until we became pregnant with quadruplets that we handed everything over to Him. I cried so much over the first 2 weeks after seeing that 4th heart beat simply asking one question; Why? I felt we had been tested over and over in our married life and in 9 years had gone through cancer, infertility, miscarriages, cleft lip and now when we had said yes to giving 4 embryos a chance at life instead of destroying 2 tha we were told were non-viable He gives us a high risk pregnancy and 4 more babies when we were just making it financially as a family of 5. Hadn't we already survived everything He had asked us to? Why did we need another test to prove we believed in him...or did we really believe? Paul and I both believed in our Heavenly Father but we never allowed Him to enter our life except for when things were going bad. When faced with carrying 4 lives we both came to a point when we simply said 'Okay Lord we will listen. We will follow You. We lay this in Your hands because we are not strong enough.' I could not do it alone and so for the first time in my life I truly allowed God to enter and not only when I needed help but daily. It still amazes me to this day how things started falling into place when we turned everything over and finally asked God to lead us. 

I can't name all the books in the bible. I pray to God like I am talking to a friend. I can't recite bible versus on command. I don't even know if I could list all 10 commandments. As I became a mom I started praying more to the Blessed Mother and this started the day I was in labor with Natalie & Aubrey. I have not been to confession since high school. I always start my prayers the same. We often forget prayers before dinner now even though we never forgot before we had the quads. Even with having a relationship with Jesus I still sin and must ask for forgiveness. I can not remember the last time I read the bible. Sometimes I change the subject when my kids ask me about a particular bible story.

What I am basically saying is that I have so much to learn about my faith and that is what scares me when talking to others about it. I can answer questions that young children have but once it gets much deeper than what a six year old questions I am calling my mom (though she didn't have any clue either on how to explain what a spirit is to twin 4 year olds!). Like I said in my last post, I am a child of God. I have always been but it was not until the last couple of years that I realized how important this was in my life. Today I am thankful that though I am not perfect, God loves me and someday I will get to heaven and meet him face to face.

November 26, 2014

Give Thanks - November 26th (Who I have Become)

Day 18 - Who I have Become

Today I am thankful for the person I have grown to be. Am I perfect? Heck NO; I have more faults and imperfections than I care to admit. I make mistakes and must ask for forgiveness but even still I like the person I am today. This has not always been the case. As a teenager I had a very low self esteem. I saw myself as the fat girl and often felt sorry for my brother and sister because they had to have me as their sister. I had one very close girlfriend and that was about all because my confidence got in the way of making other friends. Getting good grades was the one thing I could control and getting anything but A's became unacceptable to me because I knew I could succeed in that part of being me. As I become a college student these same insecurities followed me and so I buried myself again in my course work. There was little time for having fun during my days in college and besides I was way too uncomfortable in any kind of party setting to enjoy it. I may have appeared on the outside to have all the confidence in the world but this was not at all how I felt on the inside. 

It wasn't until I graduated college and I began working as a nurse that I started having some faith in myself. I took small steps in gaining confidence as I grew as a nurse. This was the beginning in becoming who I am today. Next I became a mom and again I grew a little more. I am not the supermom that I am often told I am but I try to be the best mom I can be for my kids. Some days I succeed at this and other days I fail miserably. As a mom I am confident in who I am. I very seldom compare myself to other moms; we all have our strengths and weaknesses and I though I may not be the best at playing make believe I am awesome at giving tickles and kisses. There is nothing that can build you up more than a 4 year old little man saying 'You're the best mom ever' or a 6 year old saying 'I love you' for no reason except that she really does love her momma. My children have helped shape me into the person I am today. 

Now the last part may not make sense to some but today I am happy with who I am as a wife. Yes I have been a wife for a long time but it hasn't been until the last couple of years that I feel I have become the wife I want to be for my husband. We got married young. We were still in college and our first year was great. A honeymoon for sure even though we lived in low income housing, had no money and were finishing our last year of school. After year one our marriage hit lots of bumps and some were bigger than others; finishing college but no secure job for Paul, cancer, infertility, miscarriages, being laid off, attempted home business, living like we still had 2 incomes but only 1 income coming in, and an unexpected pregnancy that was so wanted just not a good time due to finances. All those bumps during our early years of marriage caused lots of frustrations, feelings of inadequacy, and we often found ourselves trying to make it through one hurdle after another. Now don't get me wrong we had a lot of fun and I loved my husband but in a different way than I do today. It all started to change when we found ourselves pregnant with quads. We had to become a team because without each other we were going to fall apart. We allowed God to lead us instead of us taking the path we wanted to take because the end was more fun or grander. We realized that very few could understand the trials and joys we faced daily and so we found ourselves turning to each other which ended up bringing us closer as husband & wife. Over the last 3 years we have fallen more in love with each other than we have ever been and I have became a stronger person because of it. Twelve years into marriage I am the wife I want to be. Is my marriage now a walk in the park? Not always but on those days I know we will find common ground again and though we may find ourselves on another bump or even a hill someday we will get through it because I am so in love with the man I married. 

So today at age 33 I am thankful for the person I have become. 

I am a child of God.

I am a wife.

I am a mother.

I am a daughter.

I am a sister.

I am an aunt.

I am a friend.

I am me and after not liking who I was for many years I can now
 say I like who I am and for that I am thankful.

November 23, 2014

Give THANKS - November 23rd (Diva Cup)

****Disclaimer**** If you are a male reader please feel free to visit again tomorrow because I am discussing female issues today!!

Day 17 - Diva Cup

From the very first day I got my period back in junior high I have always worn tampons. I was on swim team and so pads would not cut it. I can still to this very day remember trying to insert the smallest tampon they make while my mom tried her hardest to explain with a mirror just where it was suppose to go. I don't remember being mortified but rather 'you want me to put that where?' From that day on I have gone through thousands of tampons and after I had my tubes tied I can't believe how heavy my flow is on the first couple days. I felt like a girl in high school again always worried about leaking. It sucked.

About a year ago a couple of the moms in my October 2012 Moms of Multiples group were talking about how they used a Diva Cup. I had never heard of such a thing so I pulled it up on Google and realized it was basically a reusable silicone cup that sits internally to catch ones menstrual flow. I found it interesting but figured tampons worked just fine for me so why change something that was working. Then a few months later the girls brought them up again and a couple more of the moms had ordered them and almost all of them were singing its praises. I searched for it on Amazon just to see what they cost and decided to give it a try. For $30 I was willing to see if it really was worthy of all the shout outs it was getting on my Facebook group. The three main reasons I decided to try it was 1. I was out of tampons and needed to by a new Costco size box anyways; 2. my flow on Day 1 & 2 is ridiculously heavy and I am constantly needing to change my tampon on those days; 3. as I am getting older I have noticed that on days I am wearing a tampon I get a pain down below like I have been having you know what over and over (Not a good feeling at all). 

After my Diva Cup arrived in two days, thanks to Amazon Prime, I actually anxiously awaited Aunt Flow. Let me just say the first month I was highly disappointed. It was messy. I felt more paranoid about leaking than I did with tampons. And I felt I needed to be home whenever I needed to change it because lets just say it wasn't pretty when it was time to take it out. Over the next 25 days I decided I wasn't giving up so easily and I was pleasantly surprised when the following month I started seeing why the mom's said they liked using them but I was still on the fence of whether I should buy a box of tampons for a back up plan. 

Now months into it I can say I will NEVER buy another tampon again. I am so thankful for my Diva Cup for a number of reasons. 

  • My periods use to be about 5 days long. They are now about 3.
  • I never get cramps anymore where before I use to get them the first day when I would first insert a tampon.
  • I do not get sore down below like I did with a tampon.
  • I have figured out when I need to change it so I seldom worry about leaking.
  • I do not have to buy a product that will just be thrown away. Talk about a waste of money.
  • I don't have to worry about toxic shock syndrome when I forget to empty it towards the end of my period.
  • It is super comfortable.
  • And recently I realized just how thankful I was for it. When Rylan was recently admitted to the hospital the last thing on my mind was my menstrual flow. After about 2 hours at the ER I remembered that I was on my period and needed to empty my cup. I did not have to stress about whether or not I had grabbed a tampon or if I could find one buried in my diaper bag. Instead I took Rylan to the restroom with me. Emptied my cup, rinsed it and placed it back in. I even told Paul once we were settled into his hospital room how happy I was that I didn't need him to run me down tampons because I completely forgot I would have needed them. It really is the small things in life that can make one happy.
I am now coming up on that time of the month so I will throw my Diva Cup in it's cute little bag into my purse so that I am ready when I need to be because today I am thankful for a silly little silicone cup.

****Disclaimer #2**** Everything written is authentic and opinions and thoughts expressed are 100% my own except for the picture taken from Diva Cup.

November 22, 2014

Give THANKS - November 22nd (Getting Stuff Done)

Day 16 - Getting Stuff Done

I can not remember the last time Paul and I have been home together all day. Between my work schedule and his we have literally been single parenting it from sun up to sun down. I could tell it was starting to affect us because when we find ourselves in this pattern for too long we I start getting short with Paul. I have been looking forward to today since the beginning of the week. I knew besides Aubrey's choir rehearsal we had nothing going on and these are my favorite type of days. 

We stayed in bed til 7:30 even though we may have been awake earlier and we may have told Drew to just give us a couple of minutes and to shut the door while he went to the kitchen to have a banana before breakfast! We then got up and had an awesome Saturday breakfast of scrambled eggs (with just a little cream cheese melted in; yummy), sausage, hash browns and raspberries. I love making big breakfast on the weekends and there is nothing like having your husband ask if he can make you a cup of coffee. I then took Aubrey and Natalie to rehearsal and after that it was a rainy day of just being home. Paul worked in the garage. I worked on painting the big girls desk, giving my kitchen table a 3rd coat of wax after painting it last week and starting up again on painting our downstairs. Natalie napped and hung out in my room, the babies took a great siesta and woke up happy, while Drew & Aubrey played together the whole afternoon. Today it was nothing special but it was so nice to not have a ton going on and to just have time to work on projects that we have been wanting to complete. 

We finished the night by making a cardboard box race car in which Drew became very annoyed with anyone touching it. Homemade pot pie. Me attempting to teach the big girls how to use a skip-it. They were pretty amazed at my hidden talent! A tired Drew who threw a fit when his wheel fell off of his said car. A meltdown by said tired boy. Little kids thinking Tate's crib being transitioned into a toddler bed is cooler than sliced bread. Natalie, Isabella and I cuddling and singing before bed. And we ended the night with bedtime prayers for all 7 at 6:30pm with a promise of a movie night tomorrow if they all went to sleep right away. Paul is now eating dinner and I am off to join him because I am so thankful that besides church in the morning we get to have another day just like today, tomorrow.

The big kids love when magazines come in the mail. I will always find circles throughout them and I love to see what they have chosen. I also love when they tell me that they circled a certain item for one of their siblings knowing they would like it.
Still not feeling good but she wanted to do her make-up work.

Halloween socks with Christmas decorations!
Aubrey is known for creating games for everyone to play. Problem is that she becomes frustrated when 2 year olds have an different idea of how the game should be played.

Delicious homemade pot pie. Recipe courtesy of one of my twin mommy friends.

November 21, 2014

November 21st (Normal Family Stuff)

Day 15 - Normal Family Stuff

Tonight was Drew's Thanksgiving Feast for his preschool and the timing of it was not the best for us since it did not start until 6. The babies go to bed between 6-6:15 and the big kids are in bed by 7 so I knew it would be a late night for some. Earlier in the month I thought about getting a babysitter for the babies but then forgot to schedule one. Once I realized Natalie would be having surgery I knew either Paul or I would be staying home with her and the babies so a babysitter was no longer needed. And this remained the plan until this morning.

Drew woke at 6:30 and was already asking if it was time for his feast. After he asked me a couple more times within 30 minutes I told him it didn't start until after the babies took their naps. He then kept questioning me when it was time for the babies to lay down. Hard for a 4 year old to understand that naps can not begin at 8:30 in the morning. Natalie had a tough day. Pain was not so much of an issue but she has been throwing up with her pain meds so she is just plain worn out and not eating much so has zero energy. She is hardly even saying words to me and is instead trying to sign which for Natalie is shocking because the girl is never quiet. Even though today was not the greatest for her she still wanted to go to the feast. I figured if she was up for it I would let her go and since the babies took late naps why not have them come too. These evening events with babies are newer to us. For the longest time it was just easier to have one parent stay home. Keeping 4 babies up past their bedtime is torcher for everyone. But over the last couple of months they tend to not fall apart the minute the clock strikes 6. They are also all very independent at walking which makes getting into places easier because we do not have to bring strollers and since they do well at the dinner table we can go without 4 highchairs. Some parts of having 4 two year olds is harder than the infant/toddler stage but at the same time we are starting to see the transition from having babies to having a family with 7 young kids.

It was so fun to look down our end of the table and see my family all together at a school function. No one was left behind at home. And the best part was watching all my kids run around the school gym having a blast. It amazes me how far my 31 weekers have come. From being scared of what the future held when I first found out we were expecting quads to watching them run up and down a stage at a school gym. Today I am so thankful that even though we are a larger family with lots of little kids we are still just the average family enjoying the little moments of being together. 

By the end of the night the stage was full of kids and these 3 (plus Kenzie) loved being part of the big kids group.  I also counted 1, 2, 3, 4 over and over at least 50 times.

November 19, 2014

Give THANKS - November 19th (Kids & Surgery)

Day 14 - Kids & Surgery

Tonight I am thankful for having kids who are very comfortable in any medical setting. My kids get excited to go to the doctors and ask to go to the dentist because twice a year is not enough for them. We never made a big deal out of going to these places so I don't think they ever realized that some kids are scared when they find out they have to go in for a check-up or a shot. They have also visited me when I am at work numerous times over the years so seeing someone on a ventilator or with a feeding tube coming out of their nose is no big deal. And like Natalie told her nurse today she got to visit her own babies when they were in the hospital. With that said, even I was surprised by how amazing Natalie did today when she had to go in for an outpatient surgery.

Natalie started seeing the orthodontist this summer because she has some jaw issues. I always contributed her narrow front jaw bone to her love of her left thumb. She has been a thumb sucker since she was months old and even though I have tried everything from hot sauce to duct tape to basically telling her I'd buy her a pony that girl will not stop. When we saw the orthodontist I was hoping he'd have a grand solution to end this sensory habit of hers but instead he told me that it would be nice to give her thumb this much credit but we couldn't. She has many signs of restrictive airway and most are facial and jaw changes. He wanted us to see an ent before he began working on her mouth. The ent also agreed that her tonsils were very large and even though she has no sleep apnea, no snoring, no documented cases of strep throat he also recommend taking her tonsils out.

We waited til this week because once she had surgery she needed to be out of school for at least a week. With Thanksgiving break next week she only has to miss three days of school. All week Aubrey has telling her what to expect since she is an expert after having hers out 2 years ago. Natalie was looking forward to all the ice cream and popsicles she had been told she would get to eat. This morning I woke Natalie up at 5 and her first words were 'Mommy, I'm nervous' so we headed downstairs for some essential oils, some brushing of teeth and we were off. Once at the hospital Natalie wanted to answer all her own questions and spell her name whenever anyone asked for verification. One nurse asked if I was sure she was only 6 because she showed no signs of being nervous. She thought pre-op was great as she watched people get their iv's started and told her nurse that she wanted to be a nurse when she got older, not a doctor. On the way to the double doors where I had to go my separate way she kissed me and told me not to leave.

An hour later, which was not enough time for me to settle into my book(!), I was brought back to a tearful little girl who said her throat hurt a little. After a little fentanyl and a grape popsicle she was off and asking questions again. She felt like quite the princess on her ride out in a wheelchair and I heard no complaints as she ate her jumba juice.

So today, after many days of missing my thankful posts, I am so grateful for kids that go with the flow and though they get nervous at times they do not have fears of doctors, needles, or anything else found in the medical world.

Keeping ourselves entertained!
This is the part she feared the most. She knew I couldn't go in with her but on the drive in she asked if I could get a chair and just sit right outside the door.
A tearful love as she wakes up.
A little pain med in the iv and the tears are gone.

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